One drizzling evening in Singapore a dozen of us involved in the Asian-South Pacific Congress on Evangelism met for dinner at the home of the dean of the university medical school. So-called evangelical headliners made up the guest list.
When we discovered our host serves on the Singapore committee that decides who qualifies for the kidney bank and who is left to die, we became imaginatively introvert. To our surprise, if not dismay, we learned that, had any one of the twelve of us been in dire need of a kidney, he would not have stood a chance of survival; all of us were too old to be eligible for the kidney bank.
Ours is in many ways already a young people’s world. In his controversial Reith Lectures, Dr. Edmund Leach noted that this is especially so in fields of learning: whoever is now over forty-five left the classroom before the emergence of antibiotics, nuclear fission, jet aircraft, space rockets, and computers. Any teacher “with a white hair in his head is already hopelessly out of date,” he says, in such fields as microbiology, ethology, radio astronomy, and computer studies, where “the men under forty … ‘know what is worth’ knowing” (A Runaway World?, p. 74).
It is hardly true, of course, that youth now control the centers of world power. But they nonetheless have the near future firmly in their reach. On university and college campuses today are almost all coming leaders in politics, science, education, literature and the arts, journalism, radio and television, and religion.
What especially concerns me here is the “and religion”—particularly Christianity. For the future of the evangelical cause now surely depends in a strategic way upon dedicated ...1
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